Walking down a cobbled street with expensive looking shops on either side I can see a young man sitting on the pavement. There are a few coins in the bowl in front of him. I lean down and drop two coins into the bowl. He looks up. His face is pale, his eyes are dull and there is no expression in his voice as he says, “Thank you.”
I walk away. A middle class man living in a 'prosperous' university city. My two coins have... what? Salved my conscience, helped him momentarily? Both perhaps...and they have made me feel okay for a moment because I was able to put those coins in his bowl without worrying. I could afford it. Today.
Tomorrow.. who knows?
I sit talking to my friend Peter Roper (www.thefamilybusinessman.co.uk). We are drinking expensive cups of coffee in a four star hotel. He tells me he is going home via the supermarket to fill up the boot with food and provisions. He can afford it. It was not always so – there was a time when there was no food in the fridge and no money to buy anything. He was broke, literally. His memory of that time is painful, so much so that he takes nothing for granted today. I too can easily remember a time when I struggled every month to make ends meet, relying on credit card debt to see us through.
We both know how near we came to being that young man on the street. How easily that can happen to any of us. Each of us daily negotiates our relationship with money. It grants us survival, status and, if we are lucky, peace of mind. For most of us though we continue the struggle closer than we think to sitting beside that young man on the street.
Some Facts
  • On average the UK has a 'deadline to the breadline' of 18 days before the money runs out to pay bills in the event of a financial disaster.
  • Most 25 -44 year olds have only enough money put by to survive 7 days in the event of a financial disaster.
  • 35 per cent of households have no strategy in place for dealing with financial hardship because they have no savings at all.
Source: Legal and General's Deadline to the Breadline Report.
We are blessed. We are lucky. Or maybe we've just worked hard and pushed ourselves to ensure that we have good jobs and incomes. Whatever our route to this place, isn't now the moment to take the steps to manage our money well, build financial protection around ourselves and those we hold most dear and plan for a future where we can feel safe and secure? Isn't now the moment to look at good financial planning, not simply financial advice but real planning? And isn't now the moment to look for the right financial planner to help you?
Because tomorrow ...........?